Nov. 16, 2013.
That was the last time the HRV boys soccer team lost a game, playing Summit in the 5A finals, falling to the Storm, 2-0.
The only school that has gotten the better of the HRV program in the past three years came to town on Tuesday, looking to unseat the top team in the state. They failed, losing 2-1 to the Eagles.
Two days later, HRV traveled to Wilsonville for a 5A state championship rematch. The Wildcats, ranked second in 5A, had no answer for the Eagles, losing 5-1 on their own pitch.
And while a victory over Wilsonville (4-1) in a rematch of 2015’s state title game may have been sweeter, the win over Summit (4-1) was a milestone for HRV: 40 straight games since the Eagles have last known defeat — a statistic of which Head Coach Jaime Rivera was unaware.
“I’m a little surprised; I hadn’t thought about it much this season, but that is impressive,” he said when informed of how many games the streak had reached. “I think that just shows the consistency of our program and the way that we approach competition is quite unique in that we don’t worry about scoreboard results — and look what that garners you.”
With contests against Hillsboro, Summit, and Wilsonville in the books, the bulk of HRV’s difficult nonconference schedule is over. With the exception of a contest against 2014 5A runner-up Woodburn on Sept. 29, the Eagles (5-0) will finish nonconference games next week, featuring a match at La Salle (1-2-1) Tuesday evening and a meeting with 6A Central Catholic (0-3) Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Westside Elementary.
HRV 2, Summit 1
On the boys soccer team’s Facebook page, Rivera posted a picture of the team enjoying wings at Divot’s on Monday night, noting that the meal was needed in order to “ease the nerves” prior to the game against Summit Tuesday.
If there were any nerves before the game, the wings seemed to take care of them, at least for the first half, as HRV put Summit in a 2-0 hole in the first 40 minutes, and came extremely close to adding a couple more as well.
Defender Erik Siekkenin struck first for HRV, scoring off a free kick delivered by Noe Magaña in the 14th minute after Summit keeper Joseph Hicks bobbled the ball. In the 22nd minute, a long ball from Jorge Campos found its way to Domingo Barragan. Hicks came off his line to defend the attack, which gave Barragan the opportunity to slip a pass to forward Erik Pitones, who put it in net for the game-winner.
Summit pressured HRV hard in the second half, however, and when the defense failed to mark Summit attackers in their own box, the Storm made the Eagles pay, scoring in the 65th minute to pull within one. The Eagles’ opponents went after the net hard, but was repelled by keeper Travis Running and the defense time and time again, but made the second half a little too close for comfort for Rivera.
“I thought it was a good team. At the half, we said, ‘Okay, worst-case scenario, they score a goal on us and it’s 2-1,’” Rivera recalled. “We cannot afford to have that as a score against a good team. If there was another couple minutes in that game, they would have scored… The (Summit) coach (Ron Kidder) and I talked after the team and said, ‘Goddang, I hope we don’t run into each other in the quarterfinals,’ because that’s the kind of team you want to play in the championships.”
HRV 5 at Wilsonville 1
Thursday evening in Wilsonville, however, was pretty much all HRV. After Wilsonville and HRV spent the good part of the first half getting a feel for one another, Barragan broke the logjam with a 40-yard rocket, then scored the game-winner 10 minutes into the second half, stealing the ball away from the Wildcats keeper.
A goal from defender Diego Ortiz made it 3-0 in the 60th minute, but the Wildcats made a push, scoring in the 65th minute, and then coming perilously close to making it 3-2, if not for Running coming out to make a stellar save — one of a season-high eight he made that night.
After that, Rivera said the team “weathered the momentum” and followed up with a goal by Magaña two minutes after Wilsonville’s sole goal, and then Ortiz got his second of the night, picking up the garbage after a free kick rang off the crossbar in the 72nd minute.
Rivera said teamwork, and players like Ortiz and Barragan stepping up helped make the victory over Wilsonville a memorable one.
“To us, it’s validation that we have what it takes to win on the road,” he noted.